Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I didn't attend MANA this past weekend. I wanted to. I was scheduled to speak. But it was a nonpaying gig and I couldn't afford the airfare to upstate Michigan. I really wanted to go, but ironically I gave the same presentation (slighty tweeked) here in my town at another conference. After I notified MANA that I wouldn't be speaking, I got an invitation from another conference that had before rejected my application. They had a slot open up and asked if I wanted it. It was right here in town, so I jumped at the chance. I spoke on Sunday morning at the Professional Nursing Education conference. I spoke on using blogs for teaching nursing students. (I slightly tweeked it from the MANA presentation on the impact of blogs on healthcare). I ran into several nurses I knew, including one of my professors from nursing school. I even picked up a few tips on improving hospital clinical experiences. It was very nice. Yes it is ironic that I spoke at a conference for nursing educators when I've only been doing it for 5 minutes. Even more ironic is the fact that when I sent in my original request for proposal- I wasn't teaching at all- and had never thought about teaching. As much as I wanted to go to MANA, I never had time to miss it. My weekend was a blur of posting midterm grades, checking care plans, and writing powerpoints, and shopping for baby dolls to be used for neonatal assessments and infant baths. Later this week, the hordes will descend on 'kid's day' as my students do head to toe examinations on real children (mostly homeschoolers- they're available during the day, and there are usually 5-8 kids in every family- so I don't have to ask as many people!). As for the two classes I'm taking towards my masters, I turned in my first draft of my research literature review. My research topic is, the impact of lactation on infant mortality in the African-American community (the news is all bleak, folks). For my health assessment class, last week we practiced vaginal exams on teaching patients. (Teaching patients are folks who get paid to let you examine them, and they instruct you as you go.) I think I did terrible- you'd think I'd know my way around a vagina after all those years in L&D! It's an interesting contrast being both the student and the teacher simultaneously. I came across an article on being compassionate to nursing students and that nurse educators can be abusive instead of nuturing. I took it as a warning- to check my motives, and attitude when dealing with my students- and everyone who comes into my sphere of being.
Monday, October 13, 2008
My long hiatus has been filled with clinicals, didactics, a new classroom full of nursing students, as well as work on the two classes I'm taking. This past weekend, I spent two 12 hour shifts at the county hospital with my students in labor and delivery (L&D), mother/baby (M/B), antepartum (AP), neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), triage, and well-baby nursery (NSY). I must admit, it was a blast. I felt right at home in my old hospital. It's been four years since I worked there, but much of it was the same. I liked being there in a new context. I arrived early each day (around 6am) to find assignments for my students between the various areas (the guy with the special needs child eager to be a NICU nurse got the single spot for the NICU, the earnest eager pediatric LPN got the only open prized L&D slot, the birth phobic guy will go to the well baby nursery, and so on.) Once all the students were assigned and with their nurses, I spend the morning running from unit to unit checking on them, making sure they are taking full advantage of learning opportunities. I encourage one to start and IV in triage, another to bathe a baby in the nursery. During a lull in the activity, I pull several students into the nursery to do an exam on a day old newborn. We take his vitals, listen to his bowel sounds, test his reflexes. We peruse the nursery looking at the other babies for dermatologic alterations like milia, petechia, skin tags, and port wine stains. At lunch time, I gathered my students for noon conference. We have a twelve hour day, so I try to break up the time a little. At noon I bring them into a birthing room for a scavenger hunt. They pull a slip of paper out of a bowl and see if they can locate items like trendelenburg bars, personal protective gear, graduated cylinders, and and delee suction traps. Then we grab lunch from the cafeteria and meet in a conference room. The students take turns sharing their case studies. After lunch, they head back to their various units to continue following their preceptors. I run to and fro, checking on various ones. I watch as one give a shot of demerol, another hangs an IV bag, yet another draws admit labs. They all do beautifully and I'm so proud of them. During a lull in the activity I work on powerpoints for my lectures on my laptop at the nurses station, catching up with former co-workers I haven't seen in four years. Around 5pm I gather them all up for postconference. I have them get out their workbooks and we do test prep for an upcoming exam. They talk excitedly about their experiences on the floor. Over the two shifts, 5 students got to see babies born, the NICU guy is clearly walking on air over his experience. As he leaves the unit for the day he grabs his preceptor Aurora, a tiny but mighty Filipino nurse who has been in this NICU for over 20 years, and gives her a heartfelt hug. I love watching their faces in post conference as they talk excitedly about their day. I watch as nursing 'takes', as they begin to own it. I love the way that makes me feel. My boss keeps asking me to come on board full time. I'm considering it...